Northern Ireland news

Dying man used last breaths to name man who allegedly stabbed him, court hears

Brian Phelan

A dying man used his last breaths to name the man who allegedly stabbed him, a court has heard.

Comparing aspects of evidence in a circumstantial case to the strands of a rope, prosecuting QC Neil Connor told the jury the evidence against Daniel Carroll “would leave you with a rope you could tie an ocean liner up with.”

Cross examining alleged killer Carroll for the second day at Newry Crown Court, Mr Connor suggested that when he called 999 as he lay bleeding to death, Brian Phelan told the operator “my mate Dan” had stabbed him.

As the recording of the 999 call was played, female relatives of Mr Phelan left the public gallery in distress as the victim’s voice echoed around the court room.

While many parts are unintelligible, he can be heard telling the operator “I’ve been stabbed, I’m dying, I’m dying” and Mr Connor put to Carroll that when asked who had stabbed him, he replied “my mate, my mate Dan.”

Carroll told the lawyer however “I can’t make that footage out so I can’t agree with you.”

The 30-year-old, originally from Newry but with an address on Edward Street in Portadown, is on trial for the murder of 33-year-old Brian Phelan who died as a result of five stab wounds on July 26, 2018.

It is the Crown case that Carroll stabbed the father-of-two three times in the neck and twice in the chest close to what’s been described as the mountain path on the rural Carrivekeeney Road in Newry, intentionally inflicting wounds that caused him to bleed to death in the garden of a nearby house.

Giving evidence on his own behalf, Carroll has claimed that three men came over Camlough mountain and attacked Mr Phelan and further that while he knows their identities, he cannot name them because of threats to him and his family.

That account has been labelled as a “pure invention” by the prosecution.

Taking the witness box for the second day, Carroll claimed he had in fact been acting as a “Good Samaritan” as he drove after the stabbed and stricken Mr Carroll, that he went after him to try to help him and get Mr Phelan to hospital but that he “wasn’t cooperating” as he collapsed in the garden of a property on the Carrivekeeney Road.

Mr Connor suggested that what had actually happened was that having stabbed Mr Phelan, the victim ran down the road and forced himself through a “hefty” hedge to try to get away from his attacker, suggesting that if Carroll had been acting as a Good Samaritan, “he would have fallen into your arms” knowing that he was bleeding to death and that Carroll was potentially “his saviour.”

He further suggested that if Carroll was acting as a Good Samaritan, he would at the very least have summoned help for him and dialled 999, especially given the fact that he had “callously” rifled through the dying man’s pockets to retrieve his phone before driving off in the victim’s car.

In his closing speech, Mr Connor argued the defence case and Carroll’s claims “doesn’t really add up” while all of the evidence points to Carroll as the man who stabbed the victim five times “with murderous intent.”

Defence QC Gary McHugh also made his closing speech to the jury torday, submitting that “the PSNI investigation closed to any other potential suspect on the day the case opened.”

Daniel Carroll who is on trial for murder.

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